Greece-Croatia game briefly halted by fan trouble
The Euro 2012 qualifier between Greece and Croatia was temporarily suspended less than three minutes after kickoff on Friday when over 100 masked individuals entered a stand and attacked the Croatia supporters.
The group, some wearing motorcycle helmets, threw flares and at least one petrol bomb in their direction. Some Croatia fans responded by ripping off seats and throwing them at their attackers.
Greece's Portuguese coach Fernando Santos and the team captain Giorgos Karagounis were seen signaling to that part of the stadium to try to restore calm.
The game resumed after a six-minute interruption, but the Croat supporters, said to number about 700, continued ripping seats and throwing them at riot police, who responded with pepper spray. The incident was over within minutes and there was no further trouble in the game, which Greece won 2-0.
Police are looking for a security employee who allegedly opened the gate and let the masked men, none of whom had tickets, inside the Karaiskakis Stadium, where the qualifier took place.
Private Skai TV reported that a Croat fan has lost a finger from an exploding flare but police would not comment on the incident.
Several Croats were involved in incidents outside or near the stadium, shouting anti-Greek and anti-Serb slogans.
Greece was widely seen as favoring fellow Christian Orthodox Serbia in the wars that accompanied the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.